In response to reports of Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) being hampered in the performance of their duties, the DILG released an Advisory, through the office of Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III, and issued Regional Memorandum Circular (RMC) No. 2020-035 to remind local government units (LGUs) to exercise prudence in implementing local policies to combat COVID-19.
DILG-8 Regional Director Karl Caesar R. Rimando said that the advisory dated September 11, 2020 reiterates the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) particularly on the movement of cargoes, their drivers and helpers, and APORs under Executive Order (EO) No. 112 series of 2020, or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine.
Rimando said the advisory states that movement of cargoes placed under any quarantine shall be unhampered, and workers shall be allowed to transit across areas placed under any form of community quarantine. All LGUs are directed to abide by the national policy.
It likewise enjoins LGUs not to issue orders contrary to the Omnibus Guidelines such as but not limited to, requiring asymptomatic drivers and crew of cargos or service vehicles to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Among the persons enumerated in the RMC who are permitted to move within and across areas placed under any form of quarantine are the following:
a. Health and emergency frontline services personnel,
b. Government officials and frontline personnel,
c. Duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors,
d. Persons travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons,
e. Persons going to airport for travel abroad,
f. Returning or repatriated Overseas Filipinos returning to their places of residence,
g. Other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving LGUs, and
h. Anyone crossing zones for work permitted in the zone of destination and going back home.
Further, RMC 2020-035 calls the LGUs’ attention to the following:
1. APORS are free to conduct any legitimate business or undertaking as authorized by the IATF and Regional IATF within, between and among, to and from LGUs.
2. APORs should not be discriminated upon by LGUs nor be subject to more stringent restrictions and conditions different from those imposed by the IATF and RIATF.
3. LGUs are mandated to allow persons permitted to travel outside their residences so that they could avail of basic and essential goods and services as provided under Sections 4 and 5 of the Omnibus Guidelines.
4. LGUs cannot prohibit, hamper, or hinder or impose additional restrictions in the transit, or transport of cargoes / goods, including the related work and travel of transport and logistics of personnel of business entities, without any regard as to their place of origin and/or destination, and nor can the LGU subject these persons to any confinement in any isolation facility, unless such persons are known to be probable, suspected, or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
5. LGUs either through ordinances or executive orders, cannot impose additional conditions or restrictions beyond that or more than what the laws and/or policies of the IATF and RIATF provide.
6. LGUs have no authority to overrule or substitute their judgment over the propriety of the authority of legal orders, such as travel authorities issued by authorized national government officials.
7. APORs recognized by the IATF and RIATF belonging to the private/business sector, including their authorized employees, and those practicing their respective professions or occupations as authorized by the IATF, must be given recognition and fair treatment by LGUs.
Rimando enjoins LGUs in Eastern Visayas to revisit and review their enacted ordinances and executive orders to ensure these conform to the Constitution as well as policies of the IATF.